In Her Shoes Home

Mama Used To Say…

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Renae with mother (Pamela) and sister (Royce)

One of my old school favorites, Junior’s 1982 hit “Mama Used To Say,” was an ode to a loving mother’s advice – both solicited and unsolicited. Regardless of if we actually “receive” the message at the time of delivery, we’ve got to admit that a mother’s two cents is absolutely priceless.

I connect with my mom almost daily so thinking of just one jewel of wisdom she’s shared over the years was a bit challenging. Our inside joke with her is that she’s always referencing clichés but one bit of advice she shares quite frequently is: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” This timeless and comforting statement is one that I’m sure we’ve all leaned on at some point during life’s most challenging moments.

In Her Shoes sat down with a few of the hottest names in the entertainment, fashion, and beauty business to find out what valuable advice their moms shared to help them blossom into the successful Fly Female Entrepreneurs we know and love.  Here’s what they had to say:

Amel Larrieux: Mother, Singer/Songwriter

“Believe it or not, the best advice my mother gave me was not giving me any at all. I had to figure things out for myself sans my mother’s opinions or personal experiences to influence my choices. She’s only JUST advised me to get serious about yoga, after teaching Hatha for over 20 years to other people!”

Ashunta Sheriff, Celebrity Makeup Artist

“My mother always told me to keep God first in all that you do because if you pray and keep the Creator first, all else will fall into place. You will find this to be so true regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs because God is colorless and his love is Universal. All words from Ann P. Sheriff.”

Briana Bigham: BET’s Harlem Heights, Founder/B. Marie Handbags

“After a visit to New York in the Fall of 2000, my mother encouraged me to apply to the Fashion Institute of Technology at least once.  If I got in, New York was meant to be. Four months later I received my acceptance letter!”

Karen Tappin Saunderson: Mother, Founder/Karen’s Body Beautiful

“Whatever you’d like to do – be it big or small – you can always take baby steps towards reaching your goals!”

Karen Adds:

This piece of advice encouraged me to launch my first business from a college dorm room. Although my money was small, my dreams were big! My mother’s wisdom has definitely guided me to where I am today.

Alice Smith: Singer/Songwriter

“My mother, Margie Utley, told me recently that just because you’re doing one thing doesn’t mean you can’t do another. You’re making a choice to be in the situation you’re in so you can choose to be in another one, too!”

Alice Adds:

Follow your instincts. Know and trust yourself first.

Amanda Diva: Music Artist, Visual Artist, Poet, Television Personality

“Don’t worry about who didn’t show up to the party. Focus on having fun with those who are there.”

Amanda adds:

Basically, in this life it’s really easy to get distracted with trying to please the haters, foresakers and people who are not supportive so you end up wasting energy. Show love to those who show love to you and appreciate the celebration that is your spirit!

So, what advice has your mother or motherly figure blessed you with that you’re willing to share with In Her Shoes?  We’re all ears…

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.


  1. Michi Chassagne

    May 5, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Great wisdom ladies!

    My mommi happens to be one of my BIGGEST influences in my life. She’s owned her own Jazzercise franchise for over 21 years. I listened, watched and studied her entrepreneurial path, which has helped me in my own creative endeavors. It’s more than a coincidence why I work independently and consult. Her inner voice inside me keeps my backbone strong!

    Mi madre’s advice taken from a letter she wrote to me when I moved to NYC:

    Remember, if you will, the old motto, ” Good, Better, Best, Never let it rest, til the good gets better and the better gets best.” Rest assure my child, that any decision you make for yourself will be the right one with the built-in option of modifying it whenever the need occurs. Never allow anyone to compromise your dreams.

  2. Kamari

    May 5, 2009 at 10:18 am

    This is a beautiful homage to mothers! The best advice my mother ever gave me was when she said, “You’re beautiful.” So often now, daughters grow up and do the wrong things because they have no sense of their inner beauty. It would be a blessing if we all received this advice and believed it.

    Then there’s my grandmother, who raised me after my mother passed. She ALWAYS said “This too shall pass.” She’s such a calm woman, and that saying helps me realize that nothing is so big that I won’t get through it!

    Praise God for mothers!

  3. Dionne

    May 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    My mom and grandmothers and aunts have all bestowed so much wisdom on me that I truly could write a book or two. But one piece of advice that my mom has told me and my sister is to ” dance with the one who brought you.” Basically meaning don’t step on people’s toes and forget about people who knew you “when” because they are a part of who you are today.

    BTW, I LOVE your site, so informational and inspirational! I’m glad I found it.

  4. Bless Roxwell

    May 5, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    my mama has so many gems, that’s it would be hard to put them all here:
    1. pick and choose your battles
    2. pick and choose your friends
    3. you have to deposit in your sleep bank, can’t always withdraw or you will overdraw
    4. you want something, you’re gonna have to work for it, b/c you have to pay to play, can’t/won’t pay, can’t play…

    that is really the tip of the iceberg, but I’m realizing everyday that it’s wisdom. I hope I will have as much wisdom as she one day..

  5. Dede

    May 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Your MOMMY is SO BEAUTIFUL! and so are you and Royce!! Great advice and article – Let me go call my momma 🙂

  6. Shea

    May 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Awesome. I look forward to “In Her Shoes” weekly, it continues to inspire me as I take baby steps toward my dreams. I can’t thank you enough. It’s also GREAT to finally see your Mom & Royce – You all are absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

    Love Ya – Shea

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